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Names In The Game

January 5, 1994

OTTAWA (AP) _ The Ottawa Rough Riders want to see what former sprinter Ben Johnson can do with a football in his hands.

The CFL team is negotiating a tryout for Johnson, who won a gold medal in the 1988 Olympics but lost it when he tested positive for steriods.

″It’s not etched in stone with dates set but that’s definitely the intention,″ said Rob Gialloreto, director of media and public relations for the team.

It won’t be the first time Johnson, 31, has tried football. The Toronto Argos gave him tryout last season but decided not to sign him after Johnson was said to have caught just one of 20 punts booted at him.

Before Toronto, the Hamilton Tiger Cats held Johnson’s CFL rights.

″It’s still at a negotiation stage but there’s an interest by both parties,″ said Gialloreto.

Johnson was suspended from track again last year after testing positive for steroids at a meet in Montreal.

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CHICAGO (AP) - Yes, Michael Jordan has been in a batting cage at Comiskey Park. No, it doesn’t mean the retired Chicago Bulls star wants a tryout, say the White Sox.

″Sure, he’s been here,″ White Sox general manager Ron Schueler said Wednesday. ″He’s been taking some swings and playing catch.

″Basically, he’s got three or four hours a day with nothing to do, so he’s coming in here and working out. But he’s never asked us about spring training.″

The Chicago Sun-Times quoted an unidentified source as saying Jordan, 30, was seriously considering reporting to the White Sox camp in Sarasota, Fla., when it opens Feb. 16.

Jordan’s only previous experience playing baseball was in Little League, but he created a sensation in his last public appearance at Comiskey Park. That was on Oct. 5 when he threw out the first ball in the opener of the American League Playoffs.

Jordan had to leave under guard amid rumors that he was retiring from the NBA. He confirmed the story the next day.

Since the retirement, Jordan has been the topic of stories and gossip column tidbits about how he will spend his new-found freetime.

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NEW YORK (AP) - Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon won the December designation for the Hickok Professional Athlete of the Year award.

Olajuwon, with 26 first-place votes, beat out 17 other athletes in balloting by a panel of sports writers and broadcasters. Shaquille O’Neal of the Orlando Magic, with 16 first-place votes, was second, followed by Emmitt Smith of the Dallas Cowboys.

The Pro Athlete Award winner will be one of the 12 monthly designees as determined by a vote of the panel.

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FREEMANTLE, Australia (AP) - Four-time America’s Cup winner Dennis Conner will be back in charge of Winston for the third leg of the Whitbread Round the World yacht race.

Conner, making his first competitive return to the scene of his 1987 America’s Cup triumph, will be at the helm of the American entry, which is second overall in the Whitbread-60 class behind joint Japanese-New Zealand entry Tokio.

Conner was in charge on board Winston for the first leg of the race from Southampton, England, to Punta del Este, Uruguay. He sat out the second leg from Punta del Este to Fremantle, with New Zealand-born Brad Butterworth taking over as skipper.

The fleet sets sail Sunday on the 3,272-nautical mile third leg from Fremantle to Auckland, New Zealand.

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AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - Jesse Owens will not be on the official ANC poster for the upcoming South African elections, after all.

A poster featuring the late black American hero of the 1936 Berlin Olympics was reported to have been commissioned by African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela.

″The poster was never meant to be the official election poster for the South African elections,″ Ruud Bosgraaf of the Amsterdam-based Committee Southern Africa said Wednesday. ″It has all been a big mixup in the press.″

The poster shows a series of increasingly larger images of Owens in the starting blocks, with the words ″Vote Now″ and ″Start ANC.″

It will be published along with other Dutch artists’ work in an honorary portfolio to mark the April 27 elections.

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